Epilepsy-related knowledge, attitudes, and practices among Zambian police officers

Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Zambia, Lusaka, Lusaka, Zambia
Epilepsy & Behavior (Impact Factor: 2.06). 06/2007; 10(3):456-62. DOI: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2006.12.010
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT In Zambia, where emergency medical services are very limited, the police are frequently called to the scene for unaccompanied people experiencing seizures or exhibiting disturbed behaviors during a seizure. Police officers receive no formal medical training to manage such encounters. We developed and administered a police-specific survey to assess knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) regarding epilepsy among police officers in Zambia.
In 2004, a 28-item KAP questionnaire that included queries specific to police encounters with seizures and epilepsy was developed and delivered to a random sample of 200 police officers stationed in Lusaka. Descriptive data were reviewed and open text questions postcoded and categorized.
The response rate was 87.5% (n=175). Police were familiar with epilepsy, with 85% having witnessed a seizure. Although 77.1% recognized epilepsy as a brain disorder, almost 20% blamed spirit possession, 13.9% associated epilepsy with witchcraft, and more than half the respondents believed epilepsy is contagious. When asked how they would treat someone brought in for disturbing the peace during a seizure, most police provided supportive or neutral responses, but 8% reported taking harmful actions (arrest, detain, handcuff, restrain), and 14.3% indicated that people with epilepsy in police custody require quarantine.
A significant number of police officers in Zambia lack critical knowledge regarding epilepsy and self-report detrimental actions toward people with seizures. In regions of the developing world where the police provide emergency medical services, police officers need to be a target for educational and social intervention programs.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Surveys about attitudes towards those with epilepsy have been performed since 1949, in order to understand the social stigma toward epilepsy. This review aims to demonstrate the variation in public attitudes towards epilepsy and its associated factors, with a critical review of the methodology used to examine attitudes towards epilepsy. There was marked variation of attitudes between Western and non-Western populations, and these attitudes were positively correlated with the standard of living. Besides the general public, studies were also performed within specic groups, particularly teachers and students. However absence of a standardized questionnaire makes direct comparison difcult. A few quantitative methods were developed but these were limited by cultural variations and thus lack of global acceptance. Short-term intervention studies demonstrate an improvement of attitude with knowledge. Nonetheless, the cultural and social reasons underlying the attitudes, and how this affects the life of people with epilepsy, are understudied. Therefore, surveys on attitudes should continue to be carried out, particularly in populations prone to have negative attitudes with emphasis on underlying reasons, and such progress should be monitored longitudinally. Attitudes of people such as parents, teachers, school counselors, health care professionals, and employers, which have a direct impact on people with epilepsy, should be more extensively studied.
    Neurology Asia 01/2011; 16(4):269-80. · 0.24 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The incidence and prevalence of active epilepsy are greatest in Africa compared to all other continents, even those with equivalent poor settings. This is a reflection of the high levels of structural and metabolic causes and may reflect an increased risk in parts of the continent. The full burden of epilepsy, which includes the social and medical morbidity of the disorder and where people with epilepsy are heavily stigmatized and frequently untreated, cannot be fully assessed even using the disability adjusted life-years, since the assigned disability weights are not specific to these regions. The burden is further exacerbated by social, geographic, and economic barriers to care and the inability of African health systems to manage people with epilepsy effectively because of lack of trained personnel, limited facilities, and poor access to effective or sustained supplies of antiepileptic drugs, or even therapy at all. The situation is compounded by a probable underestimation of the prevalence and incidence of people with epilepsy related to the major stigma associated with the condition in Africa, and the limited training available to most health care workers who are the primary point of assessing most people with epilepsy. Finding innovative ways to address the huge barriers faced by people with epilepsy in Africa needs to be a major goal for the millennium.A PowerPoint slide summarizing this article is available for download in the Supporting Information section here.
    Epilepsia 07/2014; 55(9). DOI:10.1111/epi.12602 · 4.58 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This study aimed to investigate knowledge, attitudes, and behavior among individuals working to achieve, or promote, the employment and retention in employment of people with epilepsy (PWE) in Benin. We interviewed 300 subjects using a self-administered questionnaire. Knowledge: 93% had heard of epilepsy; 8.8% had at least one person with epilepsy (PWE) in their family; and 67.3% had witnessed a person having epileptic seizures. Attitudes and behavior: 95.3% and 95%, respectively, expressed their views that PWE should be able to enter mainstream education and that PWE should marry; 76.4% considered PWE equal to themselves; and 28.6% reported they would not hire a PWE. We found some associations between demographic characteristics and knowledge, attitudes, and behavior among respondents. A few unhelpful aspects of knowledge, attitudes, and behavior were identified. Our study showed a fairly high level of accurate knowledge of epilepsy, but some misperceptions and unhelpful attitudes and practices toward PWE in Benin were noted. This study's findings can be used to help plan appropriate strategies based on correcting misperceptions concerning inclusion and retention in employment of PWE in Benin. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Epilepsy & Behavior 11/2014; 42. DOI:10.1016/j.yebeh.2014.10.022 · 2.06 Impact Factor